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Beshear, Sexual Assault Prevention Advocates Hold Summit to End SAFE Kit Backlog

Kentucky Attorney General's Office

Attorney General Andy Beshear partnered with sexual assault prevention advocates to hold a summit in Frankfort today to support individuals working to end Kentucky’s sexual assault forensic exam kit (SAFE kit) backlog.

The SAFE Summit was convened by the Office of the Attorney General and the Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee (SART-AC) ahead of the results from the more than 3,000 backlogged kits returning in the coming days to local police offices across the state.

The summit allowed nearly 200 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and victim advocates to receive specialized training from state and national experts on how to conduct a victim-centered investigation, examine cold cases, notify victims and prosecute sexual assault offenders.

“One of the proudest moments I have had as attorney general is transferring $4.5 million to the Kentucky State Police crime lab to make sure the backlog never occurs again,” Beshear said. “We want to ensure that everyone working to end this backlog has the resources and support they need to seek and get justice for these victims.”

During the 2016 legislative session, Beshear supported the SAFE Act or Senate Bill 63 that passed unanimously by lawmakers. Beshear provided $4.5 million in settlement funds from a lawsuit his office settled to be used for testing of SAFE kits.

Beshear’s office also provided an additional $1 million from the settlement to aid law enforcement and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases.

Beshear’s Office of Victim Advocacy and his Department of Criminal Investigations are working alongside Kentucky State Police, local law enforcement, victim advocates and survivor leaders to formulate a plan for addressing the backlog, investigating and prosecuting these cases in a victim-centered manner.

Beshear said he is thankful for the support his office has received from the SART-AC co-chairs, Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, and Major Jeremy Thompson of the Kentucky State Police.

“The SAFE Summit is a part of our collaborative effort to involve every agency that touches a victim and works to create sustainable change,” Recktenwald said. “This is the only way to ensure that a sexual assault kit backlog never occurs again in Kentucky.”

(story provided by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General)

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